Uganda 1995 Constitution (reviewed 2017)

Table of Contents



237. Land ownership

  1. Land in Uganda belongs to the citizens of Uganda and shall vest in them in accordance with the land tenure systems provided for in this Constitution.
  2. Notwithstanding clause (1) of this article-
    1. the Government or a local government may, subject to article 26 of this Constitution, acquire land in the public interest; and the conditions governing such acquisition shall be as prescribed by Parliament;
    2. the Government or a local government as determined by Parliament by law, shall hold in trust for the people and protect, natural lakes, rivers, wetlands, forest reserves, game reserves, national parks and any land to be reserved for ecological and touristic purposes for the common good of all citizens;
    3. non-citizens may acquire leases in land in accordance with the laws prescribed by Parliament and the laws so prescribed shall define a non-citizen for the purposes of this paragraph.
  3. Land in Uganda shall be owned in accordance with the following land tenure systems-
    1. customary;
    2. freehold;
    3. mailo; and
    4. leasehold.
  4. On the coming into force of this Constitution-
    1. all Uganda citizens owning land under customary tenure may acquire certificates of ownership in a manner prescribed by Parliament; and
    2. land under customary tenure may be converted to freehold land ownership by registration.
  5. Any lease which was granted to a Uganda citizen out of public land may be converted into freehold in accordance with a law which shall be made by Parliament.
  6. For the purposes of clause (5) of this article, “public land” includes statutory leases to urban authorities.
  7. Parliament shall make laws to enable urban authorities to enforce and to implement planning and development.
  8. Upon the coming into force of this Constitution and until Parliament enacts an appropriate law under clause (9) of this article, the lawful or bonafide occupants of mailo land, freehold or leasehold land shall enjoy security of occupancy on the land.
  9. Within two years after the first sitting of Parliament elected under this Constitution, Parliament shall enact a law-
    1. regulating the relationship between the lawful or bonafide occupants of land referred to in clause (8) of this article and the registered owners of that land;
    2. providing for the acquisition of registrable interest in the land by the occupant.

Uganda Land Commission

238. Uganda Land Commission

  1. There shall be a commission to be known as the Uganda Land Commission.
  2. The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson and not less than four other members appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament.
  3. A person holding office as a member of Parliament or a member of a local government council shall relinquish that office upon appointment as a member of the Commission.
  4. The members of the Commission shall hold office for a period of five years and shall be eligible to be re-appointed.
  5. A member of the Commission may be removed from office by the President only for-
    1. inability to perform the functions of his or her office arising from infirmity of body or mind;
    2. misbehaviour or misconduct; or
    3. incompetence.
  6. The salaries and allowances of the members of the Commission shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund.

239. Functions of Uganda Land Commission

The Uganda Land Commission shall hold and manage any land in Uganda vested in or acquired by the Government of Uganda in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and shall have such other functions as may be prescribed by Parliament.

District Land Boards

240. District Land Boards

  1. There shall be a District Land Board for each district.
  2. Parliament shall prescribe the membership, procedure and terms of service of a District Land Board.

241. Functions of District Land Boards

  1. The functions of a District Land Board are-
    1. to hold and allocate land in the district which is not owned by any person or authority;
    2. to facilitate the registration and transfer of interests in land; and
    3. to deal with all other matters connected with land in the district in accordance with laws made by Parliament.
  2. In the performance of its functions, a District Land Board shall be independent of the Uganda Land Commission and shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority but shall take into account national and District Council policy on land.


242. Land use

Government may, under laws made by Parliament and policies made from time to time, regulate the use of land.

243. Land tribunals

  1. Parliament shall by law provide for the establishment of land tribunals.
  2. The jurisdiction of a land tribunal shall include-
    1. the determination of disputes relating to the grant, lease, repossession, transfer or acquisition of land by individuals, the Uganda Land Commission or other authority with responsibility relating to land; and
    2. the determination of any disputes relating to the amount of compensation to be paid for land acquired.
  3. The Chairperson of a land tribunal established under this article shall be appointed on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission under any law made for the purposes of clause (1) of this article.
  4. A member of a land tribunal shall hold office on terms and conditions determined under a law made by Parliament under this article.
  5. A law made under this article may prescribe the practice and procedure for land tribunals and shall provide for a right of appeal from a decision of a land tribunal to a court of law.

244. Minerals and petroleum

  1. Subject to article 26 of this Constitution, the entire property in, and the control of, all minerals and petroleum in, on or under, any land or waters in Uganda are vested in the Government on behalf of the Republic of Uganda.
  2. Subject to this article, Parliament shall make laws regulating-
    1. the exploitation of minerals and petroleum;
    2. the sharing of royalties arising from mineral and petroleum exploitation;
    3. the conditions for payment of indemnities arising out of exploitation of minerals and petroleum; and
    4. the conditions regarding the restoration of derelict lands.
  3. Minerals, mineral ores and petroleum shall be exploited taking into account the interest of the individual landowners, local governments and the Government.
  4. In this article-
  5. For the purposes of this article, “mineral” does not include clay, murram, sand or any stone commonly used for building or similar purposes.
  6. Parliament may regulate the exploitation of any substance excluded from the definition of mineral under this article when exploited for commercial purposes.


245. Protection and preservation of the environment

Parliament shall, by law, provide for measures intended-

  1. to protect and preserve the environment from abuse, pollution and degradation;
  2. to manage the environment for sustainable development; and
  3. to promote environmental awareness.